A couple of weeks ago I was moderating this year’s Eyefortravel Europe conference. There was a mammoth line-up of speakers covering all the important topics of the day. We talked about mobile, personalisation, data, artificial intelligence, disruption and so on. It was a really absorbing event with lots to learn.
In the heady young days of the Internet, we were making predictions about how the web would change the face of travel. A popular prediction amongst ‘thought leaders’ was that the web would catalyse the death of the travel agent. Quite a few did die but quite a few remained. Another sector of the industry was also predicted to undergo a transformation. This was tourism.
In the news this week is the new exhibition starting at the London Science Museum this month. It is called Robots. It will explore humanity’s 500-year quest to recreate ourselves in mechanised form. On display will be a unique collection of over 100 robots, from a 16th-century mechanical monk to the most up to date walking, talking humanoid robots.
I have frequently said that travel is no more than information at the point of sale. When a customer buys travel it is just information on a computer. It does not yet exist. Interestingly, the appeal of the product can grow or shrink depending on the date it will actually be consumed. A room night in Sydney with a view of the New Year’s Eve celebrations has far more appeal than the same room out of season in August.
Once again, I have organised a couple of the technology/digital travel events at World Travel Market this year. I have been doing this for quite a few years. I am one of these people who are quite pedantic about keeping all my electronic files, so I was looking back to see what I had to say in some of my early presentations.
At the beginning of the month I ran the first of my Genesys Happiest Minds Executive Series seminars in partnership with Happiest Minds. The idea is that we will hold regular seminars exploring the most topical and pressing digital transformation issues that are concerning us in today’s travel industry.
I founded Genesys over 21 years ago. Back then, the Internet and the digital world that we know today were simply unheard of. It was 1994. By then there were just around 2750 websites but the web had yet to be adopted commercially. (Today there are over 1 billion sites.)